Digital concert series Live From My Den shines the spotlight on some of music’s most creative artists, allowing them to perform in intimate settings and meaningful locations. The collaborative concert series hosted by artist den and Variety has hosted stars such as Pink Sweat$, Jack Johnson, The Killers, and Cautious Clay in the past. This Friday’s episode premiered with a familiar face, Brooklyn’s independent legend Kota the Friend.
In an undisclosed Midtown, Manhattan venue, Kota performed a profound six-track set before an audience of his biggest fans. The setlist, in order, is as follows:
Before the show, Kota gave Variety journalist Alan Light a closer look at Clinton Hill, and an interview describing how his neighborhood shaped him as a musician.
“Clinton Hill is pretty much where I came up with all my ideas and I lived here my whole life. When I got to high school, I started playing the keyboard, guitar, bass guitar along with trumpet because that’s what I was going to school for. And that’s when I got into production…It was on one of these stoops that I decided, ‘Yo, I want to start a clothing line.’ It was on one of these stoops that I decided, ‘Yo, you know what? I want to make music for real.’ It was those moments, in these neighborhoods, that shaped who I am today.”
Not only does Kota discuss the special moments he had in his Brooklyn Neighborhood, but also the influence of musicians who grew up around the same place. Kota references, Nas, Jay-Z and Biggie, all artists who lived in the same, general vicinity. These artists had a profound impact on shaping his identity as a musician.
Finally, Kota the Friend took the time to explain why independence is such an important facet of his artistic integrity.
“I love music too much to give it to a corporate entity. I love it too much to sign it away. It just means too much to me. It doesn’t even matter how good the deal is or whatever. My creation is all I have at the end of the day.”
And as Kota continues to create with excellence, his music will continue to contribute to the rich, artistic tradition of Brooklyn hip-hop. For the full Live From My Den performance visit Variety.com.